6/31: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)
Nothing beats grudgingly watching one of the "Why's this on here?"s in the ol' Netflix queue and having an unexpectedly good time.
Behold: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a movie with no real business in the lineup because 1) I'd watched the David Fincher remake a few years back and thought well of it, but had problems with the last act I doubted the first film could solve; 2) I didn't read the book(s), so I don't have a specific interest in how the various constructions differ; and 3) you may have heard I'm trying to watch and write up a movie a day this month and I ain't got time for 2.5 hours of subtitled rape-venge.
But I couldn't settle on a movie yesterday, and the little red numbers in the queue let me know TGWTDT was getting pulled from Netflix Instant today, so: fine, I thought, let's try it.
I'm glad I did! It's not essential if you've seen the English-language version, and it's helpful if you don't really remember said version, because you'll have more patience with the denouement, which is just as baroque as its Fincher counterpart, but told even less credibly as far as how long it would take Mikael and Lisbeth — singly much less working together in a world with internet — to figure out that Harriet became Anita. You don't really mind, of course, because the pleasures of TGWTDT come from the table-setting, two different tables that must eventually get pushed together; and from Lisbeth Salander, one of the great wounded heroes of Western narrative, who sounds like a bag of post-goth cliches but defies them all.
The resolution of the Lisbeth/Mikael relationship plays better for me than the 2011 film's (not least the peek into Swedish "jail," which looks, frankly, like reading camp; whom can I slander so I can put my feet up in a cozy cubby for six months? He even had a TV!), and while I really liked Rooney Mara as Lisbeth, I like Noomi Rapace even more. A small part of it is that she has a "real"-er face, as European actors tend to, so she looks less like she's in a costume (although as a character concern it is a costume, or armor). Mostly it's a higher degree of volatility in the character. Neither interpretation is wrong, and if you enjoy mulling over that sort of thing, it's worth seeing how two great performances diverge but still inform each other for the viewer.
It's worth powering through 31 film write-ups in a month's time to stumble across solid entertainments and interesting contrasts like that, too. ("She says confidently, six days in. Hey, has anyone spoken to John lately?")
Tags: 31 Days 31 Films Couch Baron David Fincher Michael Nyqvist movies Noomi Rapace Rooney Mara The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swedish verzh)